Tom Mattison on launching NBA campaign for Nike

Tom Mattison is no stranger to success. Hailing from South Hampton England, the Creative Artworker has put his unique touch on numerous campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands. Many would find such pressure intimidating, but that is just when Mattison thrives.

“Working with large brands can be challenging with demanding timelines creating high pressure environments. That said, it is extremely gratifying to see my work executed on such a large scale It also means I am able to work alongside some of the world’s leading artists, designers, and photographers,” he said.

Despite success with The Gap, Vans, and Selfridges, to name a few, the highlight of Mattison’s esteemed career came last year when designing the artwork for Nike and their NBA Launch. As the lead artworker selected, he was integral to the project, from the initial client briefing to liaising and collaborating with the 3D and digital agencies involved. The campaign was extremely important to Nike, as it kicked off the brand’s first season as the official sponsor of the NBA. The designs were showcased in Nike’s flagship store in London, Nike Town. Mattison knew the vast amount of responsibility and power that came with his role.

The design concept was based on a collage aesthetic made up of photographic images, and Mattison knew he was going to have a lot of creative involvement in the overall look. Being given the opportunity to create the final look and feel of the store was a brilliant opportunity to design and execute an important project.

“The biggest highlight of my career was working on the Nike NBA campaign. I was selected as the lead artworker, which meant the responsibility was on me. The campaign was a large and important one for Nike. What I enjoyed about the project was the creative solutions it required, working through the designs to make sure this was an outstanding moment for the Nike NBA Launch,” he said.

Having had previous success working with Nike on their “London’s Fastest” campaign in August of 2017, the team he had worked with approached him once again to take the lead as artworker on the new project. Together with the project manager at Genix, Simon Willis, the two worked closely to strategize on how the project could come to life.

The overarching design concept was worked out by the brand design team at Nike headquarters, and the team that Mattison led were critical in bringing the designs to fruition. Through continual liaising with the Nike design team and basketball brand manager, they were able to collaborate and complete the project successfully.

Mattison executed everything to the highest degree. The creative direction of the project was a collage aesthetic. He took care of the composition and design details applied to both print and 3D. The project demanded a considered design eye and productive workflow.

Mattison was critical for the campaign’s success. The design was complicated from a design standpoint, visually impactful with layered and collaged imagery. With such an intricate design, the overall look was at the danger of becoming overloaded aesthetically. That is when Mattison’s artistic eye proved pivotal. He ensured all the graphics worked well together. The walls, for example, were covered in photographic graphics that could have appeared quite chaotic, so keeping other areas much simpler with large single shot athlete photography was a decision the creative artworker felt really strongly about. This helped balance the overall look and feel of the installation.

As much of the imagery assets were delayed due to Nike needing official NBA sign off, the lead time for completing the work was very tight. Mattison was dedicated to the project and made sure everything was delivered on time to a high standard.

“Collaborating with both Nike and the NBA wasn't without its challenges. Both parties had such a big input in the final sign off of designs, which at times delayed the design process. Ultimately, however, this was an exciting opportunity because Nike are one of the world leading brands and therefore excel in advertising and cutting-edge vision,” said Mattison.

The results of the campaign were impressive for both Nike and the NBA, and Mattison’s work helped boost sales for the brand. Multiple news outlets showcased the display and praised the design, and several NBA players visited the store to see the spectacle. Mattison feels good to have such acclaim after the great amount of dedication he felt for the project.

“I enjoyed the challenge of completing a project that had such high exposure and expectation. The launch of the campaign at Nike Town was the epicenter of basketball in the United Kingdom due to the sponsorship deal. Therefore, Nike focused all its attention and a lot of resources towards the flagship store. It was really a great experience,” he concluded.